Customer experiences can turn sour for a number of reasons, some preventable and some not. Regardless of why, these five tips will help you turn that customers experience into a positive one. Keeping the customer is not the only priority, you want to keep them happy! That is the goal. Follow these tips and you are sure to stay on the road to successful customer relationships.
1. Apologize! Apologize! Apologize!
A customer wants to hear nothing more than a few simple words. You know the words, your mother told you from a very young age just how important and powerful they are, and she wasn't wrong. Just by saying "I'm sorry" can have a huge impact from the start on the customer's opinion of your business. It's an important way to start the process of turning the customers poor encounter with your company into a positive one. A customer may also insist on hearing it from the manager. Let them! Knowing someone high up cares is what matters most to your customer.
2. Take Responsibility
The important thing to do after the apology is to follow it up with taking responsibility. You don't need to grovel. There is a fine line between begging for forgiveness and earning it. Only offer up an explanation if the situation truly calls for it. Perhaps your website went down due to a power outage, this is something you can explain to the customer. If an employee gave attitude to the customer then there is nothing to explain. No excuses for something like that and they certainly don’t want to hear one.
3. Ask This Question
Through my own years of customer service I watched a manager at our very busy service department of a major dealership diffuse almost every single unhappy customer with just one simple question. He would say, “What can I do to make this right?” Each time the customer would give a request, and the majority of the time he granted it or met them 3 quarters of the way, not just half way. While sometimes, the requests can be out there and usually involve giving something away for free, you have to understand it is worth it. In today’s day and age it can take a customer 5 minutes to spread the word online how angry they are, how you don’t care, etc. You want to end the problem as quickly as possible, make the customer happy again. While some may begin to abuse this, those who do tend to be the ones who will give hell if unhappy and that’s just not worth it. Customer’s appreciate you value their business enough to do what it takes to keep them happy and that word will spread it online reviews.
4. Follow Up
Make sure you reach out to this customer a few days after their issue has been resolved. Let them know you care, and you want to make sure that the solution was to their satisfaction. This will always apply regardless of what upset them. Whether, you solved the problem with a simple explanation of an error with your software, offered a discount, etc., you want to make sure that they are pleased and things are going well.
5. Pay Close Attention
Customers who’ve been upset enough to reach out to management, write a bad review, or file a complaint, should be classified in your CRM as a VIP customer. This is someone who already once had a bad experience with your company in their eyes. Give them another one, and they will be gone, or you may end up having to give not just the arm but the arm and a leg as well. Don’t let it get to this point! Make sure all employees know and a note is made that this customer is to be given special attention, priority, and if they request let a manager handle them from then on. Don’t worry about a customer noticing the attention. That’s what they want! To feel they are important to you and that their previous poor experience is something your company is making sure never happens again.
Everyone deals with customer complaints for a variety of reasons. Follow these steps and you will see a huge difference in how these situations unfold. Getting defensive, refusing to apologize, being afraid to set precedent with offering to do what the customer wants, will only exasperate the problem. I’ve personally these steps employed in customer service and it is fool proof.